April fools day origins and history.

Anonymous Sports Betting

april foolsThis is a couple of days early, but just in case I don’t get the chance to make this post on Sunday, here it is.

April Fools’ Day began in the 1500s when the Gregorian calendar took over from the Julian. Those who forgot the change and attempted to celebrate New Year’s (previously celebrated on the 1st of April) on the wrong date were teased as “April fools.”

It has become tradition on the first of April to pull jokes of the harmless variety on those near and dear to us. We plot and we scheme, and often the yuks are funnier in our imaginings than how they play out in reality, but that doesn’t stop us from sending the little kid in us out on a rampage. Even the most staid among us have been known to indulge in a practical joke or two, so beware of trusting anyone on that day.

How the custom of pranking on April 1 came about remains shrouded in mystery.

When the western world employed the Julian calendar, years began on March 25. Festivals marking the start of the New Year were celebrated on the first day of April because March 25 fell during Holy Week. The adoption of the Gregorian calendar during the 1500s moved the New Year to January 1. According to the most widely-believed origin postulated for April Fools’ Day, those who could be tricked into believing April 1 was still the proper day to celebrate the New Year earned the sobriquet of April fools. To this end, French peasants would unexpectedly drop in on neighbors on that day in a effort to confuse them into thinking they were receiving a New Year’s call. Out of that one jape supposedly grew the tradition of testing the patience of family and friends.

But that’s only one theory. Others are:

* The timing of this day of pranks seems to be related to the arrival of spring, when nature “fools” mankind with fickle weather, according to the Encyclopedia of Religion and the Encyclopedia Britannica.

* The Country Diary of Garden Lore, which chronicles the goings-on in an English garden, says that April Fools’ Day “is thought to commemorate the fruitless mission of the rook (the European crow), who was sent out in search of land from Noah’s flood-encircled ark.”

* Others theorize it may have something to do with the Vernal Equinox.

* Some think to tie in with the Romans’ end-of-winter celebration, Hilaria, and the end of the Celtic new year festival.

Wherever and whenever the custom began, it has since evolved its own lore and set of unofficial rules. Superstition has it that the pranking period expires at noon on the 1st of April and any jokes attempted after that time will call bad luck down onto the head of the perpetrator. Additionally, those who fail to respond with good humor to tricks played upon them are said to attract bad luck to themselves.

Not all superstitions about the day are negative, though — fellas fooled by a pretty girl are said to be fated to end up married to her, or at least enjoy a healthy friendship with the lass.

In Scotland, an April fool is called an April “gowk” — Scottish for cuckoo, an emblem of simpletons. In England, a fool is called a gob, gawby or gobby. In France, the victim of a hoax is called a “poisson d’avril,” an April fish. (“April fish” refers to a young fish, thus one easily caught.) The French delight in shouting “Poisson d’Avril!” at the denouement of the foolery. Some also insist all such pranks include a fish or at least a vague reference to same within the joke. Asking someone during a phone conversation to hold the line, then later returning to the call and inquiring of the victim if there’d been any bites is a popular groaner. So are pranks which trick the victim into placing calls to fish shops or the local aquarium.

The media can’t resist getting into the act. Radio personalities are especially drawn to creating playful hoaxes. The year Canada introduced a two-dollar coin, pranksters from CHEZ FM fooled listeners into believing April 1 was the last day the treasury would honor all the two-dollar bills still in circulation. Local banks and the Royal Canadian Mint fielded call after call from concerned citizens. That same year, other radio pranksters had people going through their pocket change in search of the elusive two-dollar coins which had mistakenly been minted from real gold.

It’s not just the DJs who give into the urge to prank on April Fools’. Canadian Member of Parliament Sheila Copps was responsible for a particularly creative leg-pull in 1996. On the respected news show CBO Morning, she announced that the clock in Ottawa’s Peace Tower was being switched over to digital.

Arguably the best media-generated April fools’ joke dates from a Richard Dimbleby “news report” aired on 1 April 1957 on BBC’s Panorama. It opened with a line about Spring coming early this year, prompting the spaghetti harvest in Switzerland to be early, too.

Against a video backdrop of happy peasant women harvesting spaghetti from trees, whimsical claims about the foodstuff’s cultivation were made in a straightfaced manner. Spaghetti’s oddly uniform length was explained as the result of years of dedicated cultivation. The ravenous spaghetti weevil which had wreaked havoc with harvests of years past had been conquered, said the report.

More than 250 viewers jammed the BBC switchboard after the hoax aired, most of them calling in with serious inquiries about the piece — where could they go to watch the harvesting operation? Could they buy spaghetti plants themselves? (For those anxious to try their hand at homegrown pasta, Panorama producer Michael Peacock offered this helpful hint: “Many British enthusiasts have had admirable results from planting a small tin of spaghetti in tomato sauce.”)

Although adults get into the spirit of things (ask any zoo worker about manning the phones on April 1 and having to field endless calls for Mr. Lyon, Guy Rilla, and Albert Ross), it’s the children that seem to truly celebrate the day with wild abandon. April Fools’ pranking between students and teachers is an ongoing battle of wits, with kids favoring the timeworn standards of a tack on the chair, the “missing class” (kids hide under their desks when the teacher is momentarily called out of the room), or a springy fabric snake coiled in a can of nuts. Not every teacher fights back, but those who do are often inventive about it. For more than 20 years, one grade school teacher in Boston comes in early on that day to write the day’s assignment upside down on the blackboard. When her curious students arrive, she tells them she did it by standing on the ceiling.

The style of April Fools’ pranks has changed over the years. Sending the unsuspecting on pointless errands was an especially prized practical joke in those earlier post-Julian days. In modern times, that form of pranking has shifted away from April Fools’ merriment and seemingly become a rite of initiation into many groups, both formal and informal. New campers are routinely sent on a mission to retrieve the left-handed smoke shifter from its last borrower by more experienced campers who then quietly guffaw to themselves as the tenderfoot wanders about in vain on his quest. Others are often roped in to add to the hilarity, with each person the newcomer asks pointing him in towards yet someone else who will further the joke. Rookie pilots are sent in search of a bucket of prop wash, and new carnies sent on wild goose chases for the elusive keys to the fairgrounds.

Current tastes seem to run more to funny phone calls and media-driven extravaganzas. But it’s still okay to reach back to older times for inspiration. Be a traditionalist — on April 1 send a co-worker to fetch a tube of elbow grease or 50 feet of shoreline.

Author wants to know what you plan on doing to an unsuspecting someone this year?


Posted in Funny Stuff, Other by .

West Virginia wins the NIT college basketball tournament!

Anonymous Sports Betting

WV nitWest Virginia has a championship to help lessen the disappointment of missing the NCAA Tournament.

Frank Young and the Mountaineers shot past Clemson to their first NIT title in 65 years.

Young scored 24 points, including six 3-pointers, and De’Sean Butler added 20 points to help West Virginia beat Clemson 78-73 in the National Invitation Tournament final Thursday night.

The Mountaineers thought they had a good case to receive an NCAA bid, with a 9-7 mark in the tough Big East and a victory over UCLA. But they didn’t make the cut.

“It’s been a lot of fun to play in this tournament and all the emotions just built up as it went along,” Young said. “Of course we wanted to be in the NCAA Tournament, but to win this tournament, all the joy is still there. We’re still happy about finishing our season with a win”

Young averaged over 22 points in the five games of the NIT and was named the tournament’s most outstanding player.

“It was gratifying just to see how far I’ve come as a player,” Young said. “The trophy signifies that I did a pretty good job leading this team.”

Young has stepped up in March. He averaged over 20 points in the Big East tournament. The senior followed that up with a stellar NIT to cap off his college career.

“That is as impressive a run as I’ve seen,” West Virginia coach John Beilein said of his star. “He’s just a believer, he gets on a roll and they just go to him. It just feeds off itself.”

It was the Mountaineers’ first NIT title since 1942, when Rudy Baric led West Virginia over Western Kentucky.

West Virginia (27-9) had advanced to the championship game by edging Mississippi State 63-62 on Darris Nichols’ buzzer-beating 3-pointer. Nichols finished with 13 points and nine assists in the championship game.

The Mountaineers, who came from 14 down in the second half in the semifinal, didn’t need a late-game rally this time, using a 12-2 to run at the end of the first half to take control of the game. The Tigers (25-11) trailed by double digits for the entire second half before a late 11-0 spurt cut it to the final margin.

K.C. Rivers scored 18 points and Vernon Hamilton added 16 for Clemson, which completed one of the most up-and-down seasons in school history. The Tigers started out 17-0 before losing nine of their next 11 games. They turned things around in late February winning five of six before falling to Florida State in the first round of the Atlantic Coast Conference tournament.

Clemson finished tied with the 1986-87 Tigers — led by Horace Grant — for most victories in school history. The Tigers were trying to become the third straight team from South Carolina to win the NIT. The University of South Carolina had won the last two titles.

“We had a good year,” Clemson coach Oliver Purnell said. “We tied a school record for wins, we advanced to the final of the NIT, it was a successful season.”

The Tigers advanced to the championship by holding off Air Force 68-67 in the other semifinal.

West Virginia led 26-24 with 3:56 left in the first half before hitting four straight 3-pointers to take a 38-24 lead. Young, who averaged 13.7 points in the regular season, hit two 3s to start the spurt.

Rivers’ layup with 41.9 seconds left ended the 12-0 run. West Virginia was 12-for-20 (60 percent) for the game.

“The story of the game is giving up 3s and them making 3s,” Purnell said.

The Mountaineers last lost to Louisville in double overtime in the Big East tournament — also at the Garden — three weeks ago. They beat Delaware State, Massachusetts and North Carolina State to get to New York.

The Tigers fell to 0-2 all-time in the NIT championship. They lost to California in the 1999 title game. Clemson still has never won an NIT or NCAA men’s basketball title.


Posted in Sports, West Virginia by .

How to Import All Your Archive Email Into Gmail

Original Post @ zoliblog.com. Mirrored by the WVB

gmailMigrating to a new email service wouldn’t be complete if you couldn’t move all your old “baggage” with you. Back then I was still happily (?) POP-ing it down to Outlook, but wanted a fast all-in-one searchable archive, and Gmail was the perfect solution. But none of the solutions were perfect – until now.There are several “gmail-loader” tools on the Net, but some simply don’t work, others change the original sender information to the email account they use for the transfer – pretty bad, IMHO. My simple solution a year ago was using Thunderbird with a redirect extension. You can read the steps to achieve this here. Even this solution wasn’t flawless: gmail listed all historical mail with the date of the transfer – the original date was sill preserved and searchable, you just got the list display messed up. This still appears to be the biggest hurdle users face according to this new discussion on Lifehacker.

The final solution comes from Google themselves: now that they quietly expanded Mail Fetcher to Google Apps accounts, and removed the “non-gmail source” restriction, there is a simple yet perfect two-steps process to get it all done. Gmail Mail Fetcher fixes the date problem, so now in two steps and using two email accounts you can get it all right.

Step 1:
Load all your client-based email to a temporary Gmail account either using my Thunderbird procedure, or, for an easier and elegant solution, get hold of an IMAP account.

Gmail does not support IMAP, but my old provider, 1and1.com is not a bad choice: 5 email accounts, 2G each with IMAP support $0.99 / month. In Outlook (or whatever email client) set up an IMAP account according to the instructions from your online provider. Then folder by folder copy all email into the Inbox on the newly created IMAP account. Don’t forget your Sent Mail folder: yes, that goes into the IMAP Inbox, too. Open all your archives and repeat the same process.

Don’t worry if it takes a wile: Outlook doesn’t simply copy between local folders, it shoots up all your email to your temporary IMAP server on the web, and you’ll be constrained by your upstream speed (typically lower than downstream). If you have a spare PC, it’s a good idea to use that one.

Step 2:
Now that your email is online, make sure POP access is enabled from your temporary account. If this is a gmail account (not IMAP), this is the setting you need:

“Enable POP for all mail (even mail that’s already been downloaded)”

Then in your Gmail target account – the final destination where you want to have all your archive mail – set up Gmail Mail Fetcher to pick up all mail from your temporary account. The dates will magically be fixed! Here are Google’s instructions on setting up Mail Fetcher. Do NOT check the button for “Leave a copy of retrieved messages on the server” – you do want Mail Fetcher to “eat” them all from the temporary account, in fact that will be one of your indicators that the transfer is finished.

Be prepared for a slow process – Gmail will poll your temporary account at 60-90 minute intervals, fetching 200 emails at a time. At Settings > Accounts you can follow the progress, but ignore the “nnn mails remaining” indicator, as it’s totally wrong. When all done, don’t be alarmed that the number of fetched emails is less than what you started with: your email client (and the IMAP server) counted individual emails, while Gmail will group them into thread, and reports the thread count, which could be significantly lower.

Last, but not least a word on labels / categories: if you nicely organized your Outlook archive in folders, Gmail has no way to preserve that structure. The trick here is to do Steps 1 and 2 in iterations, completely transferring one folder at a time. Then you can set a label for all your fetched email to match the original Outlook folder, and keep on changing it folder by folder.

Finally there is the issue of backup: after all we heard of disappearing Gmail… If you trust Gmail, just worried about what may happen to your individual account, there is always the option of setting up a shadow-gmail account which will fetch everything from your primary one. If you want a local archive, “just in case”, either run Outlook to periodically POP your mail down, or I believe Thunderbird has a plugin that allows it to be minimized to the system tray permanently and check the POP server in the background.

Update (3/28): One potential problem I forgot to mention is that all the fetched email becomes “unread”. Hard to believe, but Gmail does not have a “set all read” feature, and while there are some scripts, I’ve read stories of user accounts being suspended for 24 hours for scripting activity. If anyone has an idea how to changed all mail to “read” please comment below, I’ll bring it up here. Thanks.

Update to the update: The solution comes from Jason Brown, and it’s a surprise: Gmail has added a trick, I have no idea when. In Inbox (or wherever the messages are) choose “Select: All” from the list just above the message list. That will select all of the messages that are visible in the list – but here’s the surprise: At the top and bottom of the list where so it used to only say “All 100 conversations on this page are selected”, there is an additional clickable message: “Select all xxxx conversations in Inbox”, which will in fact select *all* the messages in the Inbox. Then choose “Mark as read” from the “More actions…” drop-down list. Job done! You can do this on Inbox, labels, or if you select All Mail, then on the entire account in a single step. Thanks, Jason!


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